5 Things Appalachia

5 Things

1. Sometimes lost pieces from the past fit perfectly together. A few weeks ago while hiking up the creek Chitter found the largest piece of old plate you see in the photo. Oh that girl was excited! She’s made a goal to find out what the pattern is called and to see if it’s still available in some antique store or in the back of someone’s closet. Chitter emailed folks for information and searched the web up one side and down the other, but she hasn’t found out anything about the piece yet. A few days into Chitter’s search, Chatter said you know I think I have a piece of that plate too. Chatter’s piece quickly turned into 2 pieces-when she dropped it. Seems beyond the realm of chance that the pieces found years apart in the same general area fit perfectly together, but they do. I told Chitter that’s surely a sign that she’ll figure out the pattern.

2. Every once in a while Paul and me have to set the girls straight. At our Martins Creek Community Center gig last Saturday, the girls got mixed up on the song Working on a Building. First Chitter joined in on the second verse of the song when she was supposed to wait till the third. Then when the third verse rolled around Chatter didn’t hold her line in a place she should have. After the show Paul and I stood around mulling things over and we both agreed the girls were probably nervous or just forgot. No big deal, the song still sounded great and folks probably didn’t even notice. Skip ahead to our Sunday afternoon picking and grinning session. I suggested we should go over the song since we got it mixed up the night before, so we did. The girls made the same mistakes. The music came to an abrupt halt as Paul and I started explaining what went wrong. Well let me tell you, those girls let us know ASAP that they thought we were wrong and that we had never done the song like we were saying. Their response totally cracked us up. The more Paul and I laughed and shook our heads the madder Chatter and Chitter got. I’m positive their contrary moods didn’t have a thing to do with contra dancing and jamming late into the night for two days straight. If you want to see that Paul and I are right go here.

3. Did you know there are special necklaces for folks who use essential oils? I didn’t know, until Chitter enlightened me. See the beads on the necklace? They are made from lava rock and are pourus. Add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil to the rock beads and you’ll have your own personal diffuser to wear everywhere you go. The necklaces will be coming soon in Chitter’s Stamey Creek Creations Etsy Shop.

4. My latest song obsession is with The Pressley Girls version of the waltz Midnight on the Water. I find myself humming the tune as I go about my days and if no one is looking I might even waltz a few steps with an invisible partner. Its been well over a year since we filmed the song and uploaded it to Youtube. As I watched it for what must have been the 1,000 time the other day I tried to figure out what the video was trying to tell me, it’s like there was a thought there that refused to come to the front of the line and be heard. A few days later I figured it out: the sun is accompanying the girls on the song. The bright rays have gathered to hover above their heads in a golden glow and it if that wasn’t good enough the sun beams take turns bouncing off the neck of Chatter’s Taylor guitar and playing along Chitter’s bow strings. You can go here to see the video.

5. Is there really any other flower as lovely as the lowly violet that carpets my yard in spring of the year? When I see their bright nodding faces I’m reminded of a piece of folklore I read in a Scott O’Dell book: wildflowers grow in the footprints of children who have long gone on.




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  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    April 1, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    That’s amazing about the plate pieces that fit together. I do believe that sometimes God arranges things like that to bless us with surprises.
    I didn’t know about the lava beads. So interesting!!! I bet you could hang them from bedsteads, in windows, from shower rods, to scent areas and rooms too.
    I’ve always been very partial to wild violets. I remember the south side of the yard of the house we grew up in was beautifully thick with them. Then when Dad built the garage on that side of the house and put the driveway in, they got plowed under.
    I pray everyone has a nice safe weekend.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    April 1, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    Wow, I am totally blown away again by the Pressley Girls! Can see why you have watched Midnight on the Water over and over. I’m sure it will be playing in my head for quite a while. They are sure two talented girls!

  • Reply
    March 31, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    I’m late, I know! First and most important (to me, anyway) “Midnight On The Water” was done perfectly! Those girls just keep getting better. Yes, Paul is nearly the epitome of flat-pickers; I love to listen to and watch him.
    As to the plate, It appears that both (now three) pieces were from the same spot; return there and scavenge thoroughly and y’all may find more of it, or perhaps a whole piece of the same china.
    And lastly, I would dearly appreciate your putting my name in the hat for the CD. i love y’all’s music
    No, this is lastly: Give Pap a big hug for me…

  • Reply
    March 31, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Oh I love this whole lovely post and am saving it to come back to it so that I may savor every word and song and sight! You guys are just angels.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 31, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    I don’t know anything about pottery but I know a little about the stuff from which it is made. A lot of white pottery (porcelain, vitreous china, bone china and ceramics included) was made using kaolin that was mined in southwestern North Carolina. Including some from my played out mine on Wiggins Creek. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the material that went into those broken pieces of pottery was dug out of the ground near where it was found, shipped halfway around the world to be made into china then found their way back home again.
    Kaopectate-the medicine people take for diarrhea was originally made from kaolin (clay) and pectin (the stuff that makes juice into jelly).

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    March 31, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Regardless of whether the girls messed up a bit, I’m on their side! Remember, I had all girls too, so I’m partial. Anyway, with voices like that, you can’t correct ’em too much. Wished I coulda been there to hear all that…Ken

  • Reply
    March 31, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Hi Tipper,
    I so enjoyed the girls singing and music also Paul’s.
    Footprints of children who are gone. My granddaughter Arayana past away 12 years ago on March 29th she was 3 1/2 years old. Her brother Ashton asked on the 29th what we were going to do in memory of Arayana. Usually I bake little hand and foot cookies but since our move last summer they have been packed away. So we brought out a poster size picture of Arayana in her Little Tykes Cozy Coupe. We lit a candle and talked about our memories of her. In the picture she is wearing her little white cowgirl boots. She left footprints in her little white boots that day just as she has left her precious little footprints on our hearts.
    With love and God Bless,

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 31, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    I have listened and watched both versions of the song off and on all day and can’t see where anybody messed up anything. What I do see is two beautiful young ladies having fun singing and playing with family. Whatever went wrong went right. My best advice to you and Paul is to turn the girls loose and then try to keep up with them.
    Whenever you make the DVD, make two. If I win the first one, I’ll buy the second one and give it to Ken Roper. Ken is probably the second biggest Blind Pig fan right behind me. If I don’t win the first one, I’ll still buy the second one. Whatever it takes I want one! Or two!
    Make sure the DVD includes the girls doing “Simple Gifts” acapella doing the little bobbing up and down thing. I just love that! And don’t forget “You Ought To Be Here With Me”.

  • Reply
    March 31, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    When our daughter took piano lessons the teacher would introduce her to a new tune and tell her to practice it at home for a week. At the next session the teacher couldn’t recognize what she played. When asked what she was playing her response was, It’s the same song. I just didn’t like some of the way it went, so I changed it for a better way.”
    She and my wife practiced a tune for the offertory at church. At church when they were playing our daughter changed it mid tune and later said, “Mom, you messed up. You were supposed to follow my lead.”

  • Reply
    March 31, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    So cool that the girls both found pieces of the pottery – maybe they’ll wind up in some of Chitter’s jewelry: a little gentle sanding to smooth out the edges; a little copper foil to soldier pieces together, . . . . Guess there’s a moral there: things can most always be mended even if it means repurposing them.
    Seems those Twwadis (“The way we always done it”s)- get more folks in trouble. Like all folk expressions, they evolve – one group goes off and practices/plays for a while separate from the original group and they tweak things and try things and before you know it a new Twwadi is born. Sounds like that may have happened with the girls.
    Will Chitter sell the essential oils with her jewelry?
    I know what you mean about dancing to the music in your head; sometimes the music gets so insistent in there that you just have to twirl around with it!
    Those sweet violets are one of the things I remember from our yard when we lived in Virginia – so tiny, yet so captivating!

  • Reply
    Charles Ronald Perry, Sr.
    March 31, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Tipper, I did a lot of research and didn’t come up with a match to your plate then scrolled down your blog and read b. Ruth’s response. I couldn’t determine whether the plate was originally round or shaped like a pentagon for something similar. Also the size would be good and if you laid a ruler next to the fragment that would help also. Looks like b. Ruth may have identified the fragments.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 31, 2016 at 10:33 am

    The light plays beautifully with the music.
    Too much dancing and Jamming with too little sleep makes for cranky girls!
    I love the little violets too, my hard is full now.

  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    March 31, 2016 at 10:11 am

    “I brought you Violets for your Furs.” An old Frank Sinatra song, I think. Some kind of connection here. Appalachian Furry Creatures and wildflowers.

  • Reply
    Steve in tn
    March 31, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Don’t be too hard on the band mates for improvising. Variety is the spice of life. And in the end unless you are the song leader, who doesn’t like surprises.

  • Reply
    March 31, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Tipper, I believe your picture shows what are known as Confederate violets. They are more white than purple. We have both kinds on our farm, and I love them dearly. When I was small, in the spring my mother would take me out walking, and we would look for violets along the road. I remember walking with a grubby handful of flowers. My mother always loved violets, and as I got older, I would find things for her with violets on them. Now that she is gone, I treasure the bits and bobs I got for her, because they remind me of her and are tangible memories. Violets represent love to me.

  • Reply
    March 31, 2016 at 9:37 am

    The wildflower folklore will live in my mind forever. I will think about the times those precious feet walked the yard close to my back door where the violets put on their beautiful show.

  • Reply
    March 31, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I enjoyed reading the five things post today. I would have to figure out my five things; that will be my plan for today while I do my chores. Also, I would surely enjoy having one of your DVDs, so count me in hoping to receive one.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 31, 2016 at 9:24 am

    and Ron….type in Tipper’s search box..”Making Violet Jelly”, she has a post and recipe there. All it takes is two cups of flower heads I believe, if I remember right…Pick where the dogs don’t pee…ha and of course wash them well at any rate, in cool water…This jelly is good and beautiful in the jar with a light lavender color…so delicate just like a mountain violet…
    Also…You can buy silica for drying flowers…delicate flowers are more difficult…I put my silica in a old small cookie tin…layer the silica, then flowers, (single rows in a circle) gently pour silica over and all around them. Leave for a few days to a week…gently pour off your silica and save in another container. Sometimes the color stays, sometimes the flower is lighter…
    Pressing between waxed paper is also a old timey way to save violets…
    Thanks for sharing Tipper,

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    March 31, 2016 at 9:20 am

    My university has a visiting Navajo scholar this week and she is so impressed by the beautiful flowers and flowering trees. I guess Pittsburgh is technically Appalachia–we do live (and work) in a scenic area. The violets have just start to come up in our yard at home and my son and daughter have them in water glasses all over the house. I love this time of year.
    Great idea with the diffuser. I know what I’m getting some friends for Christmas now!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 31, 2016 at 8:48 am

    OOPS ! No plate picture ? I wonder if it might be a semi-local product. Since china is soheavy, I expect before railroads it did not get moved very far from its point of origin.
    I did not know about the lava rock beads. That is a great idea. I do remember picking up pumice along the railroad to float in water. If lowered into the water gently the un-filled pores makes it float – a floating rock !
    Can’t comment on the music as I am music-impaired. Our son, however, got a degree in music therapy and my brother has played the guitar for forty years.
    Our yard is full of violets also. We have at least three colors. I am tempted to try to dry some for potpurri though honestly I don’t know how – or if – we might use it. But it is better than just mowing them.

  • Reply
    March 31, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Good morning! You never cease to make my mornings brighter 🙂 I too have a carpet of violets in my yard, but mine are a darker purple. I set my mower to its highest setting so I don’t disturb them. I love the music your family makes, and not just with instruments 🙂
    Have a blessed day all !!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 31, 2016 at 7:44 am

    I may be dead wrong but the fragment appears to me to be a very, very faded piece of “Orange Poppy” pattern plate made by Hall China Company from the 1930’s thru the 1950’s….There are many poppies on the plate…but there is one lone one in the cupped edge of the plate where the little blue flowers aren’t as close to the poppy…This is the one that appears to match Chitter and Chatter’s fragments…The center stamen area on the fragments are barely visible but matches as well. Due to the stained brown plate fragments and crackle, the imbedded decal design shown has been washed and faded by the creek flow waters….
    I drew off your fragments and pulled up the picture of your plate…and turned my drawing in the angle of the one poppy that looks like It matches….To me it definitely is a Poppy flower. But other companies also made standard dinnerware patterns with poppy designs which was a popular flower during those times…
    Hope this helps…
    If they could find one more piece with the hint of the tiny “Forget-me-not” blue flower that is shown with the other flowers on the decal design…that certainly would identify the pattern…Big Plus would be a piece with the Hall China mark on the backside of the plate….they marked all their plates…usually a gold mark but it also faded in general use, much less being washed away with time spent in a sandy creek bed…ha
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…Have them (Bing) or (Google) Orange Poppy by Hall…a gazillion pictures will come up plus other info…and you also can search Replacements, ltd….in North Carolina…those guys are really good plate and dinnerware detectives…

  • Reply
    Cullen in Clyde
    March 31, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Seems the more water over the dam, the more things seem to be connected; more things AND more connected. Thanks for sharing these.

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